How far communication technology has enabled 'rural uplift'?
Benefits of Information Technology!
How far automation and internet has helped society?
How far ‘automation and internet’ has helped society so far? Majority of people of the world use the net for recreation purpose like listening to songs, watching video clips and surfing the social platforms for time passing. No doubt, internet has come handy as an educational tool for teaching and research purpose, it must be noted that the net is a double edged sword. Unless one exercise caution, the effects of the internet in young minds and students tend to be ‘pure addiction’. We have seen youngsters walking around busy lanes and roads with the cell phone pressed to their ears. This has become a hobby for them but the injury caused by the harmful rays to the brain and heart cannot be overlooked. The emissions from mobile towers as well as from mobile phones are sufficient to cause health problems to the vulnerable. It is more than two decades since the net was adopted in developed countries. In India, there was some hesitation in the beginning but it was the ex PM, Shri Rajiv Gandhi who has given ‘go ahead’ to the adoption of latest technological inventions in India. In India, the governments started recognizing the benefits of internet for use in public administration and e-governance. Still we have long distance to go. Of course, most of the urban cities and towns have embraced the new technology without any reservation. Initially, it was adopted for payment of bills, banking sector, hospital sector and tours and travels. Indian Railways successfully adopted on line reservation system in the past decade and nowadays tickets could be booked through ‘smart phones and tablets’ without the need of a desktop PC. Hence people on the move benefited a lot by smartphones.
Rural communication scenario!
Communication scenario in rural areas!
But more than 70% of rural population is far behind in adopting the new communication tools. But feature phone penetration among the rural folks is considerable. In India, at Taluk levels mobile communication has been enabled. Still there are many remote villages who have no such benefits since locating mobile towers at those remote areas seems a very costly affair and the government is training the ‘post man’ who go to many villages with an internet enabled mobile gadget. Hence, those people who are in need could access the gadget when the postman visits their village. Lot of infrastructure is needed to extend the mobile communication to inaccessible, hilly and high altitude areas! But urban penetration is high and there are more than ten operators extending mobile communications which enabled the subscribers to access economical surfing.
As the inventions are rapid, many gadgets of yesteryears become obsolete now! In the beginning, mobile phones were used for talking and messaging. Nowadays, the smartphones are used as a minicomputer. All the functions of a computer are available in the smartphones. The only hitch is that it is cumbersome to type long texts. For preparation of word documents and excel file, a laptop would be more convenient than the smartphones. Short messages could be typed and sent to others including forwarding multimedia files and photos. Hence any event that happen around the world is known in the next few minutes to anyone in the world with live video clips. This is how technology has leapfrogged. But the major disadvantage is ‘security loop holes’, especially when the phone is used to pay bills or send money to others. Cyber security is a major aspect, every manufacturer of gadgets must be aware of. It is seen that even the advanced encryption are cracked by sleuths and ‘WikiLeaks’ is a glaring example at present! As the technology becomes more sophisticated, thieves and mischief makers become so smart to peep through many secured sites in financial and government web sites.
Women adopt to technology in rural area!
E governance and rural uplift are linked together!
When e-governance is adopted in entire affairs of the government, the governance will become more transparent. For instance after the implementation of “Aadhar cards’, siphoning of government welfare funds in the rural and urban areas have come down to a great extent. Similarly, the public distribution system linked to “Aadhar cards” will enable the government to block the loop holes in pilferages during transit and distribution. Since manual systems of billing are dispensed with, each beneficiary will be able to verify the ration items sold to him, the existing stock in the shops and rate etc. But illiteracy is preventing people to adopt modern communication systems. At village level, the beneficiaries should be properly trained to access the tools of communication. The government may provide cheaper mobile phones to the knowledgeable youth in the village so that they can act as the ‘enablers’ of welfare schemes of government. Due to poverty and agrarian crisis, the farmers were forced to seek help from wealthy money lenders who charge high interest. Hence banks should open their branches to help the poor farmers to get loan at subsidized interest rates! For creating banking infrastructure, broadband facilities should be extended to such areas.
Hence the government should focus on empowerment of rural population by tackling illiteracy, training the youth to help the villagers to receive the benefits of all government welfare schemes! Agriculture, animal husbandry and hygiene will get a boost if people are trained at village levels to adopt modern farming practices and upkeep of cattle wealth and personal hygiene. For all this to succeed, water is the most essential resource. Hence, the villagers themselves should form committees to improve the storing of water by creating more ponds at public places, economical usage of water and keeping the environments clean. Waste water management is most essential part in community life. Adopting ‘biogas’ for cooking and generation of electricity, is most suited in rural environment. Lot of waste materials is available in each village like cow dung, dropping of birds and goats, and plants and leaves which could be fed into biogas equipment to generate useful fuel which can also be used for generating small amounts of electricity! When the villagers co-operate, a common biogas plant could be solicited from authorities of government or through bank loans which could be borne by the Panchayat level. Nowadays, we find educated youth at every village. At least, there will be one student in each village who might have completed high school levels. Such students could be trained to render assistance at village levels, if the government is serious to adopt village reconstruction. Computers can play a vital role in rural uplift with the infrastructure and funds sanctioned!